Using Canadian English Text to Speech

The Tellme Voice Application Network supports a female voice for Text to Speech (TTS) processing. This article demonstrates how to access this functionality.

To access this TTS functionality, set the name attribute of the voice element to "heather" as shown in the following example.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="iso-8859-1"?>
<vxml version="2.1"
        <voice name="heather">
        Welcome to Tellme.

For information about the Speech Synthesis Markup Language (SSML) elements that the TTS engine supports, see the Speech Synthesis Markup Element Reference.

This section covers how phone numbers and mailing addresses should be formatted and how they are read by the TTS engine.

Phone numbers in Canada consist of the country code +1, followed by a three-digit area code, a three-digit central office code (or exchange code) and a four-digit station code. This is represented as 1-NPA-NXX-XXXX, in which the country code is "1".

  • Brief time breaks occur between number segments.
  • Phone numbers are not pronounced in pairs, as regular numbers are; digits are read individually.
    Text Pronunciation
    1 604 432 5871 "one six zero four four three two five eight seven one"
    1 800 432 5871 "one eight hundred four three two five eight seven one"
    604.432.5871 "six zero four four three two five eight seven one"

  • You can use the SSML say-as element to ensure that the TTS engine pronounces a phone number correctly.
  • Numbers in an address are read as numbers (for details, see the Numbers section)
  • Canadian addresses are typically in the following format:
    Name of recipient
    Civic Address / Postal Box number and Station Info
    Municipality , province and Postal Code
  • To ensure that the TTS engine pronounces the state abbreviation correctly, be sure to include a zip code. Also, do not include extra spaces after the city name.
  • You can use the SSML say-as element to ensure that the TTS engine pronounces an address correctly.
Pronunciation Rule Text
Between a street address and a numeric street, a break occurs UNIT 2050 BOX 490
A break occurs between city/state and the zip code Montreal QC H3Z2Y7

Four digit numbers have some common pronunciation patterns, as listed below. You can also use the SSML say-as element to ensure that the TTS engine pronounces a number digit by digit.

Note. To express multiplication, you must write out the mathematical functions. For example, use "4 times 5" instead of "4*5" or "4X5".

Pattern Pronunciation Rule Example Text Example Pronunciation
4 digit numbers without commas, decimal points read as pairs 2348 two thousand, three hundred and forty-eight
4 digit numbers where 2nd pair begins with zero 2nd pair is read as individual digits 2304 two thousand, three hundred and four
4 digit numbers that begins with zero Read as individual digits 0234 zero two hundred and thirty four
4 digit number where 2nd pair is 00 read in hundreds 1200 twelve hundred
4 digit number 2001 through 2009 Read as a single number 2008 two thousand and eight

Currency values are pronounced, in general, as <number><currency value> AND <number> <currency value>. For example, $432.19 is pronounced as "four hundred and thirty two dollars ,nineteen cents." You can use the SSML say-as element to ensure that the TTS engine pronounces a currency value correctly.

Pronunciation Rule Text Pronunciation
zero value before or after decimal point, only the non-zero value is read $432.00 "four hundred and thirty two dollars"
$0.19 "nineteen cents"
Use m or b to indicate million or billion, respectively. Capitalization or spacing does not matter. $432M "four hundred and thirty two million dollars"
Ranges are pronounced with the currency value last $2 - $4 "two dollars to four dollars"

You can refer here Currency Abbreviations to know about currency code abbreviations and the readout for each.

This section covers how the TTS engine pronounces date and time text. You can use the SSML say-as element to ensure that the TTS engine pronounces a date or time value correctly.

Note. Roman Numerals in dates are not supported.

Dates(short-dates) in Canada are formatted as DD/MM/YYYY.

Text Pronunciation
25/11/1990 "November the twenty fifth nineteen ninety"
1980s "nineteen eighties"
Feb 14 2009 "February the 14th two thousand and nine"

Time can be formatted in different ways. Below are examples of the different formats. In general, time is expressed in 12-hour format, with am and pm to indicate morning or evening. For official purposes 24-hour time notation is used.

  • 12:14
  • 12:14:13
  • 12:14 pm
Pronunciation Rule Text Pronunciation
Seconds are optional 12:14 twelve fourteen
12:14:13 twelve fourteen and thirteen seconds
Morning and evening indicators are optional, can be capitalized or not, with or without periods 12:14 pm twelve fourteen P M

While you can use all valid XML character sequences in the range U+0000 to U+FFFF in your VoiceXML documents, character data to be processed by the TTS engine (e.g. text in prompt and audio elements) must be non-control characters in the following Unicode tables:

See Also
Speech Synthesis Markup Element Reference, Unicode Code Charts
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